getting a stronger voice in US halls of power
WRITER, WITH CNA, WASHINGTON, Taipei Times, April
signs of improvement in relations between the US and
Taiwan under the George W. Bush administration, a
new group has been established on Capitol Hill which
co-founders say is dedicated to the further enhancement
of the bilateral relationship.
members of the US House of Representatives joined
the bi-partisan group, called the Congressional Taiwan
Caucus, which will help increase the awareness of
issues impacting the relations between the US and
Taiwan, co-founders said Tuesday.
informal congressional organization will focus on
"the concrete steps that Congress can take to
enhance and strengthen this important economic, political,
cultural and strategic relationship," congressman
Robert Wexler said at the official launch of the caucus.
caucus will also serve as a forum to educate members
of Congress on issues affecting US-Taiwan relations
as well as play a constructive role in monitoring
and supporting peaceful cross-strait discussions between
Taipei and Beijing," he said.
the caucus will serve as a medium by which legislators
from the United States and Taiwan can formally exchange
ideas and policy concerns," Wexler said.
said the group does not have plans at present to initiate
Taiwan-related legislation, although finding ways
to help Taiwan's bid to participate in international
organizations is expected to be a priority.
of the caucus will seek the administration's endorsement
of Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization,"
said co-founder Sherrod Brown.
the creation of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, I
am confident we will accomplish our goals and establish
Taiwan as an active member of the international community,"
other two co-founders are Dana Rohrabacher and Steve
Chabot. A group of legislators from Taiwan, led by
Trong Chai (蔡同榮), were present
at the launch in the Capitol.
are no plans to form a similar group in the Senate
or to make the caucus a bicameral body, the co-founders
launch of the group came after a year of remarkable
improvements in the level of contacts between the
two countries, which has been the subject of repeated
protests from Beijing.
tried to ease concerns that the latest action might
cause damage to US relations with Beijing or to the
situation in the Taiwan Strait.
design of the caucus is to play a constructive role,
particularly with respect to cross-strait relations,"
he said. "That is our goal."
to the press conference where the caucus was announced,
a meeting was held to discuss its future direction.
The caucus is led by four joint chairmen, and three
of them -- Sherrod Brown, a Democrat; Steve Chabot,
a Republican; and Dana Rohrabacher, also a Republican
-- took part in the meeting.
said that the US has been preoccupied with its war
against terror following the Sept. 11 attacks, but
to achieve the goal of long-term national security,
other threats must not be ignored.
went on to say that stability in Taiwan and the Pacific
region is in the long-term interest of the US, and
that the Taiwanese experience sets a good example
for the future development of China.
said that Taiwan, one of its most loyal allies, is
special to the US. He continued to say that Taiwan
is the US' seventh largest trading partner and the
14th largest trading nation in the world, and that
the Taiwan caucus would in future do its utmost to
promote US-Taiwan relations.